Like just about everyone with a twinset of X chromosomes, I've read a lot of vampire books this year. When I wasn't buried in Charlaine Harris' excellent series of Louisiana vampire books featuring the indomitable Sookie Stackhouse, my bodice was getting a workout by the Twilight books. In both bodies of work, there are the undead with their own beautiful bodies, walking among us -- going to highschool, running bars, worrying over their 401Ks, and draining a hitchhiker or two dry in between. And we (the definitely dead-able) can't get enough of it. Surreally powerful beings deigning to tempt us is an intoxicating thing.
What is this obsession with vampires? And why do we get such a kick out of imagining rubbing elbows -- and other body parts -- with them? That's what I keep wondering.
Being a former philosophy major and armchair anthropologist, I figure there has to be some parallels with our current culture that is expressing itself as, well, bloodsuckers. And if there is a single theme running through the past decade (greed), expressed through our economic woes (suck everyone else dry), and the reaction of our financial institutions (unconscionable lack of humanity), it makes you start to wonder just how silly all this vampire mania really is. Sookie Stackhouse might not be Faust and Bella Cullen doesn't make a convincing Gulliver, but all these stories say the same thing: If you lie down with your own devils, you had better be prepared to get up and pay a dear price.